The Murena 2 is a 6.43 inch AMOLED display, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 4,000 mAh battery, three rear cameras, and a microSD card reader. But there are two features that make this phone unusual.
First, it ships with /e/OS, which is an Android-based operating system that’s been stripped of Google apps and services, so your data is never shared with Google. And second, this is one of only a handful of phones with a hardware kill switch that you can use to physically disconnects the mic and camera when you’re not using them.
Murena has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for the Murena 2 smartphone, with early bird rewards going for €399 (about $418), which is 20% off the eventual retail price of €499 ($523).
The phone actually has two kill switches on the side, but only one is actually a hardware kill switch that disconnects circuitry:
- Privacy Switch: Flip this switch and the mic and camera are physically disconnected, which means that even if your phone is infected with malware, it cannot record your voice or image without your permission.
- Disconnection Switch: This switch basically triggers Airplane mode, which uses the phone’s operating system to disable cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth connections for a distraction-free experience where you won’t be interrupted by phone calls, text messages, or other alerts.
There are small LED lights above each switch, and they’ll glow red to let you know when the switches are active (or when your hardware is inactive, I suppose).
The phone’s software is also focused on privacy. Not only does /e/OS offer an Android-without-Google experience, but there are also built-in privacy features that let you do things like:
- Hide your IP address from sites and services you’re interacting with
- Monitor trackers in apps
- Use a VPN to fake your location
- View your privacy settings and stats in a home screen widget
While the phone ships without Google’s apps and services, it does come with some other apps pre-installed for email, calendar, contact, notes, camera, and maps functionality, among other things. Murena also offers its own cloud services with a free email service and 1GB of cloud storage for free (although you can also pay a monthly fee for additional storage space).
You can also download and install Android apps using the included App Lounge, which lets you grab free and open source applications from F-Droid, as well progressive web apps. You can also use it as a third-party client for the Google Play Store if you want to install paid Android apps, but that means that you’ll need to login with a Google account.
Murena’s crowdfunding page doesn’t explain what processor the phone is using, but says it’s an octa-core chip with four CPU cores capable of speeds up to 2.1 GHz and four more at 2 GHz.
The phone does have some older tech, including wireless capabilities that top out at WiFi 5, Bluetooth 4.2, and 4G LTE. And while the Murena 2 technically supports “global 4G LTE” networks, the only networks it’s confirmed to work with in the United States are T-Mobile and MVNO services that use T-Mobile’s network.
The Murena 2 should begin shipping to backers of the crowdfunding campaign in December, 2023.
via e Foundation